October 28, 2009

Fall Tradition

This is just a quick post to put up some pictures showing our annual apple-picking visit to County Line Orchard. It is always a good time. Though this time around it was raining and wet and muddy. Still - we had fun.

Armaan cuddling up with mama

Priya carving her pumpkin

Ok.. almost all of this was done with Priya watching, but technically its her pumpkin

October 24, 2009

Chrysler Cirrus P300 / P302 Random Misfire OBD Code

This post is an attempt to add to the vast knowledge that can be attained through Google searches. I know I searched high and low for a fix to this problem.

So the background to the story is that my 1998 Chrysler Cirrus died in the garage back in April. I was going to go out of town, and as I tried to start the car to leave, it wouldn't start. Luckily our friend Christy was there, and I borrowed her car to make the trip. So anyway, a friend of mine is a mechanic, and he came over to look at the car. At first he thought it was the crank sensor. Changed that - no start. Then he thought it was the cam sensor. This sensor doesn't come separate, but within the distributor housing. So changed the distributor and the car starts. Yay! Well... sort of.

Then what started happening was that every time I drove the car into work, I would get the P300 OBD code - which is a random misfire. It was very strange. I could reset the check engine light, and not get it again for a week. Then, a trip to work - bam its back! So took it back to my friend, who by now has his own repair shop. I'm already down about 700 bucks so its hard to justify taking it anywhere else. So he has it for a couple of days. He figures its the distributor cap. So change that out. I get it back and its fine for a few weeks, but then the P300 code comes back. Now I'm down $800. I'm seriously looking to get rid of the car, but can't afford to purchase something new or even used. So my fate it tied to this one. Back again to the repair shop. No mechanical fixes this time, but I get the diagnosis that all these years I've been using the wrong fuel type in my car. Instead of using mid-grade fuel. I've been using regular. Umm.. well.. that's what the manual says... So anyway - 10 years of using the wrong fuel has so messed up the engine that it's starting to misfire randomly. So I dutifully start using mid-grade gas. Nothing for a few weeks, and I'm thinking maybe that was it. Not at all. Starting a month ago, I couldn't go a day without the code kicking in. But this time it's P302 - misfire on cylinder 2. So now my friend is thinking there's something wrong in the wiring or ignition system of the vehicle.

I didn't want him experimenting anymore on the car. Even though I'm at $900 with him, I decide to cut my losses. A few years ago when I had to have my cylinder heads rebuilt, I had found a mechanic who is extremely good, but very slow. If you leave a car with him, forget about getting it within 3-4 days. I decided it was worth the wait to get a final fix. Within an hour of diagnosing the car, this guy found what the problem was. It was a substantial vacuum leak in the intake manifold. What started as a small leak (problem only happening every so often) went to a big leak (problem happening every day). So $200 to replace the gaskets, and the car seems to be running a lot better. And I got my car within 2 days. By the way, checking for vacuum leaks is exactly what this website suggests. But the first guy pooh-poohed at the idea of it being a vacuum leak. Why? I don't know.

So for all you people doing Google searches for solutions for the P0300 random misfire code, make sure your mechanic checks for vacuum leaks. Of course, I still don't know if this is the full fix. Three or four months down the road, the problem can still reappear. But from the way the car is running, I'm pretty sure that's what it was.

October 08, 2009

My genius girl

Priya decided a couple of days ago that she didn't want training wheels on her bike anymore. I thought, "oh boy - here we go with days of walking behind her." Not to be! Her first day of training lasted ten minutes. The next day, she hopped on her bike, and took off! What? That's my girl!!

Here are some other pictures over the last few weeks.

The ringleader - planning something suspicious...

The pre-school class - most of these kids will not be together next year, including Priya's best friend Skylar

A rare moment

Sarah and Bruno's wedding

Joyce, Sarah and Bruno